Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:28:06 +0000
2018’s 0.56% result down markedly from 3.95% a year earlier
Agriculture output growth slowed in last three months of 2018 from a year earlier even as it rebounded from a July-September contraction, the government reported on Wednesday, leading to a full-year result well below official estimates.
At 1.8 percent, the expansion was an improvement from the third quarter’s 0.83-percent drop but was lower than the 2.26 percent posted a year earlier, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.
Full-year output growth came in at just 0.56 percent, below Agriculture Secretary Emmanual Piñol’s estimate of 1 percent and well short of a projected easing to 2.5 percent — instead of a targeted 4 percent — from 2017’s nearly 3.95-percent expansion.
Piñol admitted that while October-December farm output had recovered from the previous quarter, it was “not enough to really make things prettier as we expected it to be.”
“Obviously it was a challenging year for Philippine agriculture and we attribute to the almost monthly tropical disturbances and typhoons punctuated by Super Typhoon Ompong, which really affected agricultural production,” he told reporters.
In value terms, farm output hit P521.24 billion in the fourth quarter, up from P500.94 billion a year earlier. It led to a full-year result of P1.82 trillion, also higher than the P1.72 trillion posted in 2017.
The PSA said all four sub-sectors — crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries — contributed to higher production in the fourth quarter.
The crops sub-sector, which comprised the bulk of agriculture output at 50.40 percent of the total, grew by 0.25 percent in October-December — lower than the year-earlier 2.68 percent — as palay output fell 2.2 percent and corn grew by 10.82 percent.
For the full year, crop output fell by 0.98 percent — a reversal from 2017’s 6.69-percent surge.
Livestock, with a 17.74-percent share of total farm output, saw October-December growth ease to 1.64 percent from 1.84 percent a year earlier. Full-year growth, however, improved to 1.89 percent from 1.12 percent in 2017.
Poultry output — 16.18 percent of total production — posted the best performance for the year with a 6.99-percent fourth-quarter expansion, higher than the 4.73 percent recorded 12 months earlier. This led to full-year growth of 5.75 percent, up from 4.62 percent in 2017.
Fisheries, which rebounded from a year-earlier 0.92-percent drop to post 1.93 percent growth in the fourth quarter, still ended the year with a 1.13-percent contraction although this was an improvement from 2017’s 1.68-percent fall.
Farmgate prices, meanwhile, rose by 2.22 percent in the last quarter of 2018 — lower than the 6.99 percent a year earlier. Still, price gains for the full year were better at 5.62 percent from 4.9 percent in 2017.
In the wake of 2018’s dismal result, Piñol said he was optimistic that 2019 would be better.
“What is important here is the fact that while the agriculture faced so many challenges in 2018, the fundamentals are in place. If the fundamentals are in place, agriculture will always rebound and come up with a better performance,” he added.
FROM A REPORT BY EIREENE JAIREE GOMEZ